President’s Message – March/April 2017

Posted on May 30, 2017

Greetings to All:

It is hard to believe that we now find ourselves in the middle of February. I have been asked by many fellow lawyers regarding GBBA seminars to comply with the annual CLE requirements. Just recently we had a Board meeting, and all committee chairs and co-chairs were requested to appear and report. Several chairs reported that they are planning seminars – two hours in duration to meet CLE annual requirements. Of particular concern is the planning and scheduling of a seminar in the subject of Ethics as everyone has an annual requirement of two hours in Ethics. Once our seminars are organized, all members will be notified.

On Wednesday night, February 8th, The Center for Family Justice had a ceremony for the opening of its first legal “incubator” program located at its Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport headquarters. A team of five newly graduated attorneys will operate independent law practices, while offering legal assistance to victims of domestic and sexual violence in the greater Bridgeport area. Five young female lawyers have separate offices in the facility, will work with victims of abuse, and will offer legal services at a reasonable price as these lawyers build their practice.

Debra Greenwood, President and CEO of the Center, and Angela Schlingheyde, the attorney in charge of the State of Connecticut’s first legal “incubator” program, both acknowledged the help from two of our local lawyers, Janine Becker and Matthew Reale. I commend these two lawyers (Janine Becker is immediate Past President of the GBBA, and Matt Reale is our current Secretary), and urge all members of the Bar who are willing to contact the Center for pro bono and mentoring work.

Attorney Etan Hirsch is actively co-chairing the young lawyers section of GBBA with Attorney Venoal Fountain. Unfortunately over the past several years, there has been a decline in this section perhaps due to the stresses of work and young family life. Etan and Venoal are attempting to invigorate this necessary section for the survival of GBBA, and we thank them for their continued efforts.

Preparations are well in the works for the Annual Law Day Program. This year, the Hallen School Choir will perform, and the Liberty Bell Award will be presented to The Center for Family Justice. I urge all members to attend the luncheon at the Holiday Inn. Notices will go out on a timely basis. Law Day is a national celebration of the rule of law and the U.S. legal system.

The Annual Dinner Committee has selected the honorees for this year: Nancy Ganassini (our retired Executive Director) and Attorney Daniel Portanova will be this year’s recipients. More details on this May event will follow.

On February 16th, the GBBA hosted the Winter Social at the Barnum Publick Restaurant. The event was well attended, and thanks to Katie Santos (Acting Executive Director) and her assistant, Mariah Miklus, for their help in organizing this successful and fun event.

On February 16th, I also attended the Bridgeport Security Commissioner’s quarterly meeting under Judge Barbara Bellis’ direction. All issues of safety and security were discussed concerning both Courthouses. Marshal Gary Hughes chaired the meeting, and explained that despite severe budget cuts which has diminished the number of marshals, safety has been maintained. If there is suspicion of violence in any area of both Courthouses, extra marshals are available. Apparently, the separate entrance for attorneys is up and running, but if there are any complaints or observations, please advise.

My best to all the members of the GBBA!

Upcoming GBBA Events

  • December 13, 2018 12:00 am: Toys for Tots Gift Drive (Community Outreach)
  • December 20, 2018 12:00 am: Community Outreach Holiday Gift Card Drive (Community Outreach)

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